East Tennessee Outdoors Tips for Tennessee Turkeys – Part 2

Published 11:51 pm Sunday, March 22, 2020




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Nothing makes a hunter’s heart beat a little faster than the gobble of a spring tom turkey. Last week we gave a few tips on how to take a good tom this year, and this week we will continue with those tips.

Why not try a few of these tips and give yourself a better chance at a turkey dinner for Easter?

Tip 3: Ambush them.

Let me guess. You have hunted a flock with two good gobblers and they will not come to your calls. You watch them go to roost every night and are there the next morning giving that gobbler sounds that would make your mother cry, but the gobbler will not come to the call.

Why not ambush them?

In many ways, turkeys are creatures of habit. If they are using a set of roosting trees for a day or two, chances are they will be there each night for a while because they feel safe there.

Notice where they are traveling to get to the trees and set up an ambush. Leave the calls at home, and use the patience and ambush skills you use with deer.

Sooner or later they will be there right as it is getting dark.

A few years ago, I could not get a gobbler to come to me, and I set up an ambush. I waited, but I made a mistake of letting them come in behind me.

It was too dark to find the gobbler until an owl hooted. He could not help himself, and he had to gobble. I shot at a bad angle and missed him, but I learned really quickly that an ambush can work.

Tip 4: Use a decoy.

There is one good reason for you to use a decoy during turkey hunting – they work!

Placing a decoy in an open part of the woods or field where you hunt will not only attract the gobbler to come closer, it will also keep his attention off of you.

A decoy is one way that you can fool a turkey’s eyes. His eyes are his best defense against danger, and anything that allows you to make a mistake or two and still not spook him is a trick you need in your pack.

Tips 5: Sleep late.

Yes, a lot of gobblers are killed during the first two hours of daylight because that is when they do most of their mating.

Why not try sleeping late and not going hunting until three or four hours after sunup? By this time most hens will be feeding or sitting on nests, and you still have a gobbler looking for another mate.

He is more likely to come to a call when he does not have a flock to attend to.

Instinct tells him to mate as much as possible, and if you are the only female that is acting interested, it doesn’t matter what time you are hunting. There is a good chance he will be interested in your call.

With the weather warming, it is the perfect time to get in the woods and bring home a tom turkey for the freezer. Give it a try this spring and feel the excitement of a gobbler in full gobble in the spring woods.

Tennessee Turkey season officially opens on March 28 and 29, 2020, with the opening of the Young (age 6-16) Sportsman Hunt.

The regular season opens on April 4, 2020, through May 17, 2020. The bag limit is one gobbler per day and no more than four per season. Shotguns and archery equipment may be used.

For more information on hunting Tennessee turkeys, pick up a copy of TWRA’s Hunting Guide or go to the website at twra.gov.